360° - Building Strategies for Communication in Contemporary Dance (BSCD), aims to bridge a gap identified transnationally in the ability of dance artists and makers at all stages of their careers to communicate their work effectively beyond the medium of movement to a wide range of stakeholders. In order to address this, the partner organisations will share best practices on the topic of communication with international experts through a series of transnational meetings. The knowledge generated will be captured and shared through an online publication which will be available for free to all.

This project involves six partners from across Europe: Centro per la Scena Contemporanea, Bassano Del Grappa; Dance Ireland, Dublin; La Briqueterie - CDC du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine; K3 – Zentrum für Choreopraphie | Tanzplan Hamburg; Dansateliers, Rotterdam; Hrvatski institut za pokret i ples, Zagreb and will run from 01 September 2016 – 31 December 2017.

PROJECT PARTNERS

MEETINGS SCHEDULE

17-18 October 2016
KICK OFF MEETING
at K3 | Tanzplan, Hamburg, Germany
9-11 January 2017
WORK SESSION 1
Introduction to communication in Dance
at Dance Ireland, Dublin

PARTICIPANTS

Alessia Zanchetta (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)

Daniel Favier (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)

Elisabetta Bisaro (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)

Hazel Hodgins (Dance Ireland)

Janice McAdam (Dance Ireland)

Jeanette Keane (Dance Ireland)

Kerstin Evert (K3 – Zentrum für Choreopraphie | Tanzplan Hamburg)

Kristin de Groot (Dansateliers Rotterdam)

Merel Heering (Dansateliers Rotterdam)

Roberto Cassarotto (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)

Roberto Cinconze (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)

Ulrike Steffel (K3 – Zentrum für Choreopraphie | Tanzplan Hamburg)

Valentina Toth (Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance)

GUEST LECTURERS:

Annette Nugent, Arts Marketing Consultant

Karen Hand, Social Psychologist and Brand Strategist

Eoghan Nolan, Creative Director and Copywriter, Brand Artillery/Think & Son

MEETING SUMMARY

What are we talking about?

A strategy can be defined as a cunning plan (to achieve specific aims); communication as the imparting or exchanging information by writing, talking, visuals or some other medium, and contemporary dance?  That’s where we got a bit stuck.  A room full of experts in the area found it difficult to offer a concise definition, without describing what it is not.  This was an interesting starting point for our discussions, and highlighted just how big the communication gap potentially is between the artist/organisation and the general public.

What did we learn?

Creativity and commerce are lovers, and communication is their match-maker.  Once we accepted the role of commerce in the arts, it opened us up to using words like ‘brand’, ‘product’, ‘sell’ and ‘market research’, which actually made it easier to talk about communication in the arts context.  We needed to accept that if we wish to communicate a piece of work, we do wish to ‘sell’ it (which may or may not involve monetary benefit).  This requires a certain mind-frame while also acknowledging that adopting this mind-frame when needed does not have to compromise or undermine the artistic integrity – if done well, it just broadens the reach and impact of the art object, which is a good thing for the work and the art form as a whole.

What will we do?

A number of important ideas were started at the Dublin meeting.  The two that we will keep central for the continuing meetings to explore further were:

Road-mapping the process of the artist, and all of the different stakeholders they encounter along the way: identifying who needs to know what, and when (it sounds simple – it wasn’t!).

A vision for the future – if we know where we collectively would like to go in terms of a big vision for the communication of contemporary dance, from the individual artist to the dance organisations and venues, to the audiences and funders, we can then make steps to get there, and it opens up the possibilities for making sure we have the right supports in place to achieve these goals.  The vision we came up with will be tested over the year with a wider group of stakeholders.

One of the items included in our vision was that there would be a known understanding in the wider world of what contemporary dance is.  So we will also work this year on an accessible, understandable definition which we can agree on as a starting point.

22-24 February 2017
WORK SESSION 2
Communicating an artistic fingerprint, developing an authentic narrative
at Dansateliers - Rotterdam, The Netherlands

PARTICIPANTS

Alessia Zanchetta (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)
Elisabetta Bisaro (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Hazel Hodgins (Dance Ireland)
Janice McAdam (Dance Ireland)
Jeanette Keane (Dance Ireland)
Kerstin Evert (K3 – Zentrum für Choreopraphie | Tanzplan Hamburg)
Jenny Beyer (K3 – Zentrum für Choreopraphie | Tanzplan Hamburg)
Kristin de Groot (Dansateliers Rotterdam)
Lody Meijer (Dansateliers Rotterdam)
Merel Heering (Dansateliers Rotterdam)
Peggy Olislaegers (moderator)
Roberto Cassarotto (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)
Roberto Cinconze (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)
Mirna Žagar (Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance, Zagreb)

Guests/participants
Agnese Rosati (creative producer)
Alexis Vassiliou (Dancehouse  Lemesos)
Cecilia Moisio (choreographer)
Dario Tortorelli (choreographer)
Dave Schwab (programmer City Theatre Rotterdam)
Giulio d’Anna (choreographer)
Hiskia Linnenkamp (marketer)
Joriene Blom (creative producer)
Lana Coporda (choreographer)
Leonie Clement (programmer Festival Cement)
Lisa Wiegel (programmer Brakke Grond)
Rainer Hofmann (programmer Spring performing arts festival )

MEETING SUMMARY

Resume Rotterdam residency 360-BSCD February 22-24, 2017

What are we talking about?

In discussing the slippery concept of an authentic narrative and the even more elusive concept of something as unique as an individual’s artistic fingerprint, many questions were raised. Some of these included:
How do choreographers articulate their practice and what do they want to be co-responsible for?  How do artists make themselves available?  
What is at the heart of their practice, and how can this be expressed beyond their artistic medium?
How can they define their values and interests?
How do they deal with and manage expectations?
How does dialogue sharpen their thinking?
What is the role of invitation and seduction?
These questions were also asked other dance professionals, such as programmers, creative producers, dramaturges and artistic directors to reflect upon. There was a lot of discussion about how the dialogue between programmer/artist/director and the communication person/department is of vital importance to feed in on an authentic narrative. In addition, we discovered that being clear in what you can offer and what you cannot offer, as well as trust, are traits we all value very much.

What did we learn?

  1. Good communication often starts off from a personal and direct connection.
  2. Common ground is of crucial importance for a communication process to become successful.
  3. Agreeing on and sharing values and principals as well.
  4. Stating the obvious is helpful to not create elephants in the room and to prevent creating false expectations.
  5. Communication is not only verbal, a physical approach can also be as valuable and effective.

This has led us to think that not only does the art form need a vision for the future, but also the individual artist needs a vision and a mission statement, which connects directly to fingerprint and essence and the core of an artistic practice.

What will we do?

Following this work session, we will expand our framing of the project to include questions that are applicable not only for dance artists, but also for programmers, communication people, dramaturges and directors. We will continue to unpack the nuances of the understanding of various terms, and acknowledge that meanings and definitions are not common across all contexts or for all artists.
The information gathered over these days will be implemented in the road maps that we began in Dublin. Who needs to know what, and when and how and which communication tools/means then do we apply. 

What else?

Do we use the words dance and choreography often enough? Are we explicit enough about the value and strength of our art form? Or do we want to explain ourselves maybe just a little too much and by doing so unconsciously undermine the meaning of dance and choreography? Considering politics and the position of dance across Europe, we may have to use these words more often and with more conviction. More about this later!

24-26 April 2017
WORK SESSION 3
Researching and identifying relevant audiences and stakeholders for your work and to adjusting language and communication strategies
At La Briqueterie, Vitry-sur-Seine, France

PARTICIPANTS

Hazel Hodgins (Dance Ireland )
Jeanette Keane (Dance Ireland )
Roberto Casarotto (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)
Alessia Zanchetta (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)
Roberto Cinconze (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)
Kerstin Evert (K3 – Zentrum für Choreopraphie | Tanzplan Hamburg)
Uta Meyer (K3 – Zentrum für Choreopraphie | Tanzplan Hamburg)
Elisabetta Bisaro (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Daniel Favier (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Pascale Pommat (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Cecile Vernadat (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Laurence Moreau (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Ayakan Duku (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Valentina Toth (Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance)
Nina Kunek (Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance)
Mirna Žagar (Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance)
Kristin de Groot (Dansateliers Rotterdam)
Merel Heering (Dansateliers Rotterdam)
Annette Nugent (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Aoife McAtamney (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Lionel Avignon (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Christian Ubl (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)

MEETING SUMMARY

What are we talking about?
This session centred around one main question: How do we make dance (more) relevant?

“The function of relevance is to create a connection between a person and a thing. […] Our work matters when it matters to people”, that’s one of the definitions of the word ‘relevance’ by Nina Simon included in her book The art of relevance.
Do we know who we want to make our work more relevant to?
Do we know for whom it is already relevant: who are our insiders and our outsiders?
What are the risks of only serving our insiders? What are the long-term risks of only serving outsiders?
How do we identify who we want to reach? How can we communicate well beyond words? How can we be relevant to our colleagues and collaborators?
How can our work be more vital to our community/communities and, ultimately, to our society?

What did we learn?

On communication in general:

  • Honesty in communication is vital: do not mislead people; give them instead a reason to go see a show/engage in a project and help them take a risk
  • Sometimes it is necessary to state the obvious - always check in: what is the voice of the project? Who is it for? What is the position we are taking? What is our common ground?
  • Not all the people are the same or share the same attitudes, opinions and motivations about the arts
  • People’s differing attitudes, opinions and motivations shape behaviour: it can show how and why people are likely to engage with the arts
  • Thinking about audiences early in the process will help ensure we do not accidentally put up barriers to who we want to reach with a show or a programme
  • In defining audience segments, our primary goal should be to identify a group of people who share a common need that our organisation or project can satisfy
  • Segmenting audiences will save money and time!
  • It is important that we get people onto the same page, especially regarding what we want to achieve.

On non-verbal communication:

  • Words, images, posters, videos, sound are all filters between an artist/institution and the public: they should illuminate not obscure a work!
  • You can always find a photographer you can afford!
  • Designers and photographers should be part of the creative process from the beginning.

Culture connects people: if we can show that culture produces empathy, we can scale it up to prove that culture makes our society more empathic. Consider the implications for documenting, measuring and evaluation arts’ public impact.

What will we do?
We will develop an online tool that includes a roadmap and a glossary. The glossary will be composed of a list of 10 key words: audience, dialogue, translation, relevance, identity, documentation, collaboration, trust, communication and evaluation. Each of these words condenses many of the discussions and concerns shared in this project’s process. Each of them will lead to theoretical and practical content developed by and for artists, programmers and other cultural stakeholders over the next two working sessions. We aim to create a final tool that can be as informative as its user requires it to be.

23-25 August 2017
WORK SESSION 4
Informing and engaging your audience
at CSC Bassano del Grappa, Italy
16-19 October 2017
WORK SESSION 5
Mapping out online communication tools and channels and how to best use them
at K3 | Tanzplan Hamburg
11-13 December 2017
EVALUATION MEETING
at Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance (HIPP), Zagreb, Croatia
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.